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The Fourth Friday of Great Lent: Secularized Sin

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, July 13, 2016  I have had numerous responses across social media about yesterday’s article on sin. It’s title, “Sin Is Not a Legal Problem,” drew some strong reactions. A particular concern is worth thinking about carefully. There is, as many have pointed out, plenty of juridical language in both the Scriptures and in the liturgical tradition of the Church. Quite specifically, someone noted that 1John 3:4 has this: “Sin is lawlessness.” One translation

The Fourth Monday of Great Lent: Sin Is Not a Legal Problem – Athanasius and the Atonement

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, July 12, 2016  I often struggle when people speak of their “sins.” Indeed, it is not unusual to be asked, “Is ___ a sin?” The question always makes me feel like a lawyer. Imagine that, instead of a doctor, you have a lawyer whom you consult for your medical problems. You are having trouble breathing. You’re short of breath and occasionally you cough up blood. You go to your doctor (lawyer)

Prayers for the Dead

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, May 21, 2016 The Orthodox pray for the departed. The most pressing prayer within the liturgies appointed for this purpose is for God to forgive their sins. We say, “For no one lives and does not sin, for You only are without sin….” This is easily misunderstood, but it goes to the very heart of the mystery of our relationship with God. The same sentiment, interestingly, is offered in the prayers

You Are Not Your Sin

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, March 24, 2016 Shame is powerful. Having begun writing on the topic, it is important to say more. The Tradition, particularly in the texts that discuss the spiritual life, contains many references to shame. In recent times, it has become a topic within the field of psychology and in the community surrounding recovery from drugs and alcohol. Strangely, it has been largely neglected in spiritual writing, even among the Orthodox. I

Knowing the Knowledge that Transforms

By Father Stephen Freeman, March 22, 2016 “If only I had known…” These are, not infrequently, the words of an apology. They are also an explanation of why we are sometimes the way we are. Ignorance is, in the mind of the Fathers, a major cause of sin. Of course, if sin is understood in a legal/forensic framework, then ignorance would be nothing more than a form of innocence. Not knowing is excusable in most

Justice, Forgiveness and Bearing a Little Shame

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, March 15, 2016  This morning I read a headline in the newspaper: “We will get justice.” In the relentless cycle of the daily news, the report was of the discovery of a young woman who had been murdered. It seemed a completely appropriate response by the law officer in charge of the investigation. His words doubtless echoed the sentiments of everyone who knew the young woman. The desire for justice is

Alone. One Person at a Time.

Alone When God seems absent By Abbot Tryphon, January 26, 2020  We all have those moments in our lives when we feel as though God is absent, even perhaps nonexistent. Those times leave us feeling alone and abandoned, as though we are lost in an empty stadium. We feel as though we are on a boat that has been set adrift without an engine, floating further from shore, and heading to an uncertain future. Such

Doing Good in a Bad World

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, December 8, 2015  A bad man cannot make a good world. “Something must be done!” If there were a possible slogan for the modern world, this would be it. Its power lies in its truth. Some things are tragic and unjust, broken and dysfunctional. Any analysis that suggested that nothing should be done will fall on deaf ears – and should. However, this is where the great temptation of modernity begins. Something must

ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ! CHRIST IS RISEN! The Second Wednesday of Pascha: Thoughts on the Resurrection

By Michael Haldas, Quotes of the Day for April 17, 2017 “Jesus did not “cheat” death—He destroyed the power of death. We will not cheat death either. Each of us will eventually die an earthly death, but because the Resurrection destroyed the power of death over us, when we die on this earth, we will be resurrected with Christ. The power “death” has over us will indeed be destroyed.” (Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis) “I believe

The Fourth Wednesday of Great Lent: Ten Suggestions for Lent

By His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Geron of America Meditate on the History of Salvation Think of the Lenten period as a time of meditating on the history of salvation.  Think about the creation of the universe and of Adam and Eve as the beginning of human life on earth.  Think about the fall of Adam and the entrance of sin in humanity.  We see in the hymnology of the liturgical book of Lent, the Triodion,